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Discover The Book Ministries

Malachi

Last words are very important. Christ's last words contained His legacy for us, His Body. In Malachi we find the last words from God in the Old Testament. His last words are words of His Love! Our God is a God of LOVE. He has shown His love since He came on a search and rescue mission to the Garden of Eden. As soon as Adam and Eve had fallen God came to the rescue. He is the same today. One writer expressed the immensity of God's love in a hymn he titled "The Love of God". Listen to the words F. M. Layton uses to describe God's love. His explanation of this hymn points to how the words written on a wall by some suffering patients in a hospital stuck in his mind. This is what came out of his meditation: "Could we with ink the ocean fill, And were the skies of parchment made. Were ev’ry stalk on earth a quill, And ev’ry man a scribe by trade, To write the love of God above, Would drain the ocean dry. Nor could the scroll contain the whole, Tho’ stretched from sky to sky. The love of God, how rich and pure, how measureless and strong. It shall forevermore endure, the saints and angel’s song."Because the Last book of the Old Testament opens with God declaring His LOVE. Malachi is a book about Loving God and what He expects from His special people. In just a glance at the book we can see there were many problems among those special people. The Lord points out and questions them about seven key areas of lacking in their lives. A look at Malachi is to look at the problems of Nehemiah’s wall builders under a microscope. The same activities that caused the sharp correction of Nehemiah, produced the prophet’s cry of Malachi. The book weaves its way around 7 key questions:Why are you doubting God's Love? Malachi 1:2 "I have loved you," says the LORD. "Yet you say, 'In what way have You loved us?' [Was] not Esau Jacob's brother?" Says the LORD. "Yet Jacob I have loved; (NKJV) Why are you despising God's Name? Malachi 1:6 " A son honors [his] father, And a servant [his] master. If then I am the Father, Where [is] My honor? And if I [am] a Master, Where [is] My reverence? Says the LORD of hosts To you priests who despise My name. Yet you say, 'In what way have we despised Your name?' (NKJV) Why are you denigrating God's Holiness? Malachi 1:7 "[You] offer defiled food on My altar. But say, 'In what way have we defiled You?' By saying, 'The table of the LORD is contemptible.' (NKJV) Why are you disagreeing with God's Standards? Malachi 2:17 You have wearied the LORD with your words; Yet you say, "In what way have we wearied [Him?"] In that you say, "Everyone who does evil [Is] good in the sight of the LORD, And He delights in them," Or, "Where [is] the God of justice?" (NKJV) Why are you declining to walk God's way? Malachi 3:7 Yet from the days of your fathers You have gone away from My ordinances And have not kept [them.] Return to Me, and I will return to you," Says the LORD of hosts. "But you said, 'In what way shall we return?' (NKJV) Why are you disregarding God's Ownership? Malachi 3:8 "Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, 'In what way have we robbed You?' In tithes and offerings. (NKJV) Why are you defiling God's honor? Malachi 3:13 "Your words have been harsh against Me," Says the LORD, "Yet you say, 'What have we spoken against You?' (NKJV) OUTLINE The Last Voice: Beware of Spiritual Arrogancy First Lesson: Responding to the Love of God (1:1-5) His Love Declared (1:2) Why are you doubting God's Love? Malachi 1:2 "I have loved you," says the LORD. "Yet you say, 'In what way have You loved us?' [Was] not Esau Jacob's brother?" Says the LORD. "Yet Jacob I have loved; (NKJV) His Love Demonstrated (1:2c-5) Israel Elected (1:2c-3a) Edom Judged (1:3b-5) Second Lesson: Honoring the Love of God (1:6-2:9) His Love Dishonored (1:6) Why are you despising God's Name? Malachi 1:6 " A son honors [his] father, And a servant [his] master. If then I am the Father, Where [is] My honor? And if I [am] a Master, Where [is] My reverence? Says the LORD of hosts To you priests who despise My name. Yet you say, 'In what way have we despised Your name?' (NKJV) Contemptible sacrifices Demonstrate Dishonor (1:7-14) Why are you denigrating God's Holiness? Malachi 1:7 "[You] offer defiled food on My altar. But say, 'In what way have we defiled You?' By saying, 'The table of the LORD is contemptible.' (NKJV) The Guilt of the Priests (2:1-9) Why are you disagreeing with God's Standards? Malachi 2:17 You have wearied the LORD with your words; Yet you say, "In what way have we wearied [Him?"] In that you say, "Everyone who does evil [Is] good in the sight of the LORD, And He delights in them," Or, "Where [is] the God of justice?" (NKJV) Third Lesson: exposing God's Unfaithful People (2:10-16) Exposed Sin (2:10) Evidence #1 : Illegal intermarriage (2:11-12) Evidence #2 : Divorce (2:13-16a) Malachi [1] used strong language to emphasize God’s displeasure with divorce. He said, I hate divorce. "Hate" (from sŒaµneµÕ) means to detest. (This differs from the Heb. word for "hate" used in 1:3.) To underscore his point, Malachi said that this pronouncement was made by the Lord God of Israel. This recalls the fact that He is the sovereign Lawgiver and Judge of Israel. If God despises a practice, certainly it ought not be done.A man’s covering himself . . . with his garment symbolizes marriage (cf. Ruth 3:9; Ezek. 16:8). But covering himself with violence describes violating the marriage relationship, which is what divorce does. The fact that this is the Lord’s view is repeated for emphasis (says the Lord Almighty).This verse is the most explicit statement in the Old Testament on God’s feelings about divorce. Divorce was allowed but actually the instructions in that passage (Deut. 24:1-4) were given to protect the wife if a divorce should occur. Jesus taught that those concessions by Moses were given because of the hardness of people’s hearts, but He emphasized that God does not approve of divorce (Matt. 19:7-9), though some Bible scholars see some bases for exceptions to this ideal. (Cf. comments on Matt. 5:31-32; 19:1-12; Mark 10:1-12; and 1 Cor. 7:10-24.)THE SEVERITY OF GOD ON DIVORCE The second chapter of Malachi tells us that God hates divorce. [2] The Bible leaves no doubt that marriage is for life; separation and divorce are contrary to God’s order. We let that stand as a flat statement, even while we recognize the exception which Jesus cited, and also the one which St. Paul recognized. The marriages which are dissolved strictly on the basis of the exceptions permitted by Scripture are minimal, and for a very good reason: Where even one of the partners is determined to live according to Scripture, the marriage will rarely come to such a pass. Quoting again from Bonhoeffer, "God makes your marriage indissoluble. He protects it against every danger which threatens it from without or within; God himself guarantees the indissolubility of the marriage. No temptation, no human weakness can dissolve what God joins; indeed, whoever knows it may confidently say: What God has joined together, man cannot put asunder."*Christian people need to recognize that in taking the name of Christ, they accept a different standard of marriage than that which is permitted by civil authority. Martin Luther [3] recognized that civil authorities could grant divorce. But he spelled out at the same time the implications which this would have for a Christian: "Where there are no Christians, or perverse and false Christians, it would be well for the authorities to allow them, like heathens, to put away their wives, and to take others, in order that they may not, with their discordant lives, have two hells, both here and there. But let them know that by their divorce they cease to be Christians, and become heathens, and are in a state of damnation." Exhortation to Faithfulness (2:16b) The charge in verse 15b is repeated in verse 16b: So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith (cf. vv. 10-11, 14). The Israelites were not to break faith with one another by divorcing their Jewish wives and intermarrying with pagans (v. 11). Such activity profaned the covenant promise God gave to Israel. By guarding their spirits they would be acting in accord with God’s purpose and would help preserve the unity of the nation as well as their individual marriages.The laws in favor of divorce were in all probability made with a view to humanitarian interest. But it is the spirit of our age, and not the spirit of love, which is behind them. Because marriage is the precious foundation and corner-stone of all society, the destructive spirit of our age manifests itself most strongly in our divorce laws. No folly is so great or so fatal as this, to imagine that it is possible to throw morality to the winds, and to preserve religion; to loosen the marriage tie and to draw more tightly the bond of government; to give over to destruction the divinely appointed foundation of all human welfare, if only the self-invented props of the state be provided; iron oppression, and crafty espionage. [4] But the greatest evil of all is that done to the authority and rule of Christ, for divorce flies in the teeth of His word; "What God has joined together, let no man put asunder" (Matthew 19:6). Christ spoke that word out of a deep knowledge of the central place which marriage holds in God’s eternal plans for mankind. The person who tampers with so solemn a word of Christ does so at great spiritual peril. The Apostles did not hesitate in urging their people to sacrifice temporal happiness for eternal gain, nor should we. Better a lifetime of loneliness or misery than an eternity of regret. [5]Fourth Lesson: Trusting God (2:17-3:6) God Accuses Israel of faithlessness (2:17) This Lesson has a striking contrast between its first and last verses. Though the people had changed in their views on God’s justice (2:17) God Himself had not changed (3:6). Because He does not change, neither do His covenant promises. Therefore Israel’s faith and hope should have been stabilized. However, she was acting and talking as if she had no God to believe in or hope for. Therefore, ironically, the God whose word to people of faith is that He does not change or grow weary (cf. Isa. 40:28) is now said to be wearied with this people’s faithless and hopeless words (cf. Isa. 43:24).God Warns (3:1-5) God Offers (3:6) Fifth Lesson: Acknowledging God's Ownership (3:7-12) God Points to sin (3:7) Why are you declining to walk God's way ? Malachi 3:7 Yet from the days of your fathers You have gone away from My ordinances And have not kept [them.] Return to Me, and I will return to you," Says the LORD of hosts. "But you said, 'In what way shall we return?' (NKJV) God calls it Theft (3:8-9). Why are you disregarding God's Ownership? Malachi 3:8 "Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, 'In what way have we robbed You?' In tithes and offerings. (NKJV) The whole tithe was an expression of God's ownership. Anything less would be denying His complete title deed to us. Because He bought us at such a high price (I Cor. 6.19-20) we should give all of ourself back to Him! The Lord is saying if you give all and hold nothing back (unlike Annanias and Saphira of Acts 5) He will pour out such blessings as we could never have experienced. He will shower us with blessings from Heaven. We will not be able to contain all that He has to pour upon us! Think about some of the words we have said to God: All for Jesus, all for Jesus! All my being’s ransomed pow’rs: All my thoughts and words and doings, All my days and all my hours.Let my hands perform His bidding, Let my feet run in His ways; Let my eyes see Jesus only, Let my lips speak forth His praise. Since my eyes were fixed on Jesus, I’ve lost sight of all beside, So enchained my spirit’s vision, Looking at the Crucified.O what wonder! how amazing! Jesus, glorious King of kings, Deigns to call me His beloved, Lets me rest beneath His wings. Author: Mary D. James All to Jesus I surrender, All to Him I freely give; I will ever love and trust Him, In His presence daily live. All to Jesus I surrender, Make me, Savior, wholly Thine; Let me feel Thy Holy Spirit, Truly knowing that Thou art mine. All to Jesus I surrender, Lord, I give myself to Thee; Fill me with Thy love and power, Let Thy blessing fall on me. Chorus I surrender all, I surrender all, All to Thee, I surrender all, I surrender all, My blessed Savior, I surrender all. Author: Judson W. Van de Venter God promises blessing (3:10-12). Note the elements of a blessing from Numbers 6:24-27. Be sure to often seek ways to ask God's Divine Favor to rest upon those you come upon in Christ. Sharing a blessing helps others, shows love and models true Christian love! HIS sheltering BLESSING v. 24 "The LORD bless you and keep you; (this is God's favor and protection.) HIS SHINING BLESSING v. 25a The LORD make His face shine upon you, (this is showing His pleasure at their actions.) HIS SHOWERING BLESSING v. 25b And be gracious to you; (this is God showing His compassionate mercy.) HIS SMILING BLESSING v. 26a The LORD lift up His countenance upon you, (this was a way of saying He approves of their way.) HIS sanctifying BLESSING v. 26b And give you peace." ' (this is the gift of God for the righteous only.) Isaiah 57:20 But the wicked [are] like the troubled sea, When it cannot rest, Whose waters cast up mire and dirt. (NKJV). HIS signing (our souls) BLESSING v. 27a "So they shall put My name on the children of Israel, (this is Divine Ownership, see II Cor. 1.) HIS SECURING BLESSING v. 27b and I will bless them." (this is a promise.) Sixth Lesson: Fearing God (3:13-4:3) God's charge (3:13) Why are you defiling God's honor? Malachi 3:13 "Your words have been harsh against Me," Says the LORD, "Yet you say, 'What have we spoken against You?' (NKJV) An analysis of their condition: God's Word was too stiff and so they had no desire to follow Him. God's Walk was to narrow and so they had no delight in Him. God's Work was to hard and so they had no dedication to Him! The Guilt of Israel (3:14-15) was in breaking a covenant with God. The Biblical portrait of marriage is not a contract that can be altered and broken. It is an unbreakable covenant. In Jewish culture after an agreed upon price for the bride, and the betrothal was set the agreement was binding. (Dt. 28:30; II Sam. 3:14). Then after the price was paid to the father of the bride, the ceremony could begin. (Ex. 22:16). This ceremony consisted of the groom coming to take his bride to his home. Ahead of the groom a procession of singers and dancers led the way. By the sound of this group coming the bride was announced of her imminent departure. This was a cause for eager anticipation. As the groom takes his bride, they head the procession back to his father’s house. There a wedding feast would begin lasting up to two weeks (Gen. 29:27). At the feast a covenant of marriage was written by the father of the bride. This agreement was called a kethuba. After the couple signed this agreement they were escorted to the bridal chamber to consumate their marriage. [6] The Jews had developed a low view of women. [7] To them, women were servants. In fact, when a Jewish man would get up in the morning, he would pray, "God, I thank You that I'm not a Gentile, a slave, or a woman. Amen." In Deuteronomy 24:1 Moses says that if a husband found uncleanness in his wife, he could divorce her. Some rabbis interpreted "uncleanness" as adultery and said that was the only grounds for divorce. But others said that "uncleanness" could be anything from spoiling the dinner to not being as pretty as another woman. Basically the two views among the rabbis about the proper grounds for divorce were: (1) adultery only; and (2) for any reason at all. When those two choices were offered to the people, which do you think they accepted? By the time of Jesus and Paul, the Jews were divorcing their wives on whim. The Greeks: The Greeks were worse than the Jews. In the Greek world, there wasn't a legal procedure for divorce, because it wasn't necessary. Wives only cleaned the house and had legitimate children. Domosthenes, an Athenian orator and statesman, said, "We have courtesans for the sake of pleasure; we have concubines for the sake of daily cohabitation; and we have wives for the purpose of having children leg-itimately ad being faithful guardians for our household affairs." Because Greek men found their pleasures outside of marriage, fornication and prostitution were rampant. And, according to historians, Athenian society was also dominated by homosexuality, lesbianism, and pedophilia (the sexual abuse of children). The Romans: The Romans were even worse than the Greeks. Divorce was not the exception but the norm. Jerome, an ancient writer, tells of one Roman woman who married her twenty-third husband---and she was his twenty-first wife! Marriage in Rome became nothing more than legalized prostitution. In other words, you could get married when you found someone you wanted, stay until you got tired of her, dump her, and then marry someone else. Rome also had a rampant women's liberation movement. Women didn't want to have children because they thought it hurt their looks. Women wanted to do everything men did, so there were women wrestlers and women fencers. According to Juvenal, the first-and second-century Roman satirical poet, women joined in men's hunts "with spear in hand and breasts exposed, and took to pig-sticking." Then he went on to write, "What modesty can you expect in a woman who wears a helmet, abjures her own sex, and delights in the feats of strength?" (Satires 1.22-23, 61-62; 6.246-64). The Faithful Remnant (3:16) The warning and promise of God (3:17-4:3) A day comes which will burn up all the wicked (4:1). But for those who fear God, the sun of righteousness shall arise with healing in His wings (4:2). God will send Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of Jehovah (v. 5). He will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the children to the fathers lest judgement fall on all (v. 6). John the Baptist specifically disowned this role (John 1:21). Some identify this prophecy with one of the two witnesses (Rev. 11:3-12). Conclusion: God is Coming (4:4-6) Now (4:4) Then (4:5-6)

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